A Seminar on Writing About Children’s Rights and Freedoms

A child is a human being under the age of 18. While this definition is common across countries, different eras have defined a child in a variety of ways. This seminar will examine how children have been seen and treated throughout history, in order to understand how this has impacted on their rights and freedoms.

A spokesman for the International Children’s Convention says that every child deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their circumstances or past experiences. This includes the right to be protected during war, and not to be subjected to violence, neglect or abuse from people who look after them. Parents and guardians have the primary responsibility for bringing up their children, but where this is not possible, governments should help. Children should also have the right to be looked after by people who respect their religion, culture, language and other aspects of their life.

When writing for children, it is important to know your audience well. Kids are brutal critics and if they sense that an article is not written for them, they will close it or refuse to read it. Observe the kids around you and learn what excites them, scares them or makes them laugh. Keep notes, read many kids books whether classic or modern and remember your own childhood. These activities will help you to write engaging articles for children.

It is also important to note that all children are unique in the way they develop. Developmental milestones are a good guide as to what is normal for a specific age group, but the reality is that all children progress at their own rate and there will be some who experience delays. In these cases, specific assessment by a qualified professional may be necessary. This could include a GP, Paediatrician, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Psychologist or Physiotherapist.

Children should have the right to be protected during war, and to not be subjected to violence, neglect or sexual abuse from people who look after them. They should also have the right to be looked after in a safe environment by people who respect their religion, culture and language. Every child should be free from exploitation, including child labour and forced marriage, and the Convention makes clear that all governments have an obligation to protect these rights.

The word kid is often regarded as slang or too colloquial to be used in formal registers, but the Oxford English Dictionary states that it has been in common usage for more than three hundred years. However, it may seem strange to a reader from another country or culture, and some writers may prefer to use the term “child” rather than “kid.” This is considered acceptable in the context of an article for children, although those writing professionally or for an audience mainly made up of adults might be better off using child. Nevertheless, the term is widely accepted in contemporary English.